It’s a given that the newest new Avengers aren’t your dad’s Avengers; in fact, they’re probably not even your older brother’s. No, Al Ewing and Gerardo Sandoval’s new “New Avengers” #2 doesn’t feature Earth’s mightiest heroes, but it does contain what just might be Earth’s richest, strangest or most obscure heroes, featuring team members such as Sunspot, Squirrel Girl and Pod. While the comic arguably is an Avengers comic in name only, Ewing still delivers a fun and somewhat thrilling comic that contains threats no single superhero could withstand and peeks into the status quo on this post-“Secret Wars” world.
Ewing and Sandoval open the issue with a warm welcome and a current roster and recap on the very first page. Brutal honesty is the best policy, as anyone flipping through the comic at the shop will immediately have an idea of what they’re about to buy or put back on the shelf. With the scenario established, the makers of the comic switch scenes to the Maker; that is, the evil version of Reed Richards from the former Ultimate Universe. The previous issue as well as Sandoval’s cover telegraph the Maker’s appearance, so it doesn’t come as a big surprise, but it’s nonetheless a shift that keeps the story hopping as soon as the first page is turned.
Ewing’s take on the Maker is the character highlight of the issue, as he disturbingly and perfectly captures Richards’ pure amoral sense of evil, with plenty of credit also due to Sandoval and colorist Dono SÃ¡nchez Almara. Twelve panels spread across two pages from a single, stationary viewpoint and coldly chronicle Richards’ chilling words and actions, while Almara sedately colors the scene with only splashes of red (that is, blood). Immediately thereafter, Ewing and Sandoval jump back to these new Avengers, where both Sandoval and Almara cut loose with a dynamic and brightly colored battle sequence.
Sandoval doesn’t try to capture any sense of realism here, but there isn’t much realism in the story either, as superheroes and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents alike find their heads replaced with large floating crystals. There’s an exaggerated kind of flair to Sandoval’s characters and their motions that makes for a fluid and limber story flow, but his technique occasionally backfires; his interpretation of a buck-toothed Squirrel Girl is overly exaggerated, for instance.
Ewing’s story sets the stage for these New Avengers and gives the team a solid place in the new Marvel Universe, but what it fails to do is provide anything more than a threadbare reason as to why this team should even have the word “Avengers” in their name. The practice of putting any given character on the team has long been one that’s kept the membership fresh and evolving, but here there’s little to justify the name of the title beyond marketing purposes. “New Avengers” #2 is a good comic, but it’s not an Avengers comic, no matter what the title says.